Greece is wary of terrorism measures

A day after EU justice and interior ministers agreed to speed up the implementation of tough new anti-terrorism measures, in the wake of last week’s London bombings, Greece openly admitted that it had doubts about some of the enhanced powers. «The council of ministers formulated a statement yesterday. Greece maintained its reservations. The process envisages the referral of the matter to teams of experts and a discussion will then follow,» said government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos. The ministers from the 25 EU member states agreed in Brussels on Wednesday to accelerate measures to cut off funding to terrorist groups and boost the sharing of intelligence required in terrorism investigations. They also agreed on plans to force European telephone and Internet providers to keep communication records for three years – a move that caused concern in Greece about the emergence of a police state. However, the government has said that it will examine the implementation of any new measures purely from Greece’s point of view on its security. Roussopoulos was adamant that there would be no knee-jerk reactions in Athens. «The constitutional freedoms that are safeguarded in our country will be abided by completely,» he said. Greece passed new anti-terrorist legislation last year, coming into line with EU standards just weeks before the Olympics. However, a presidential decree published in March 2005 gave security forces greater power to observe various communications by suspects, including telephone conversations, e-mail, and credit card purchases. The decree stipulates that the privacy rights must not be overridden unnecessarily.

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